She left me when I was imprisoned

What you need to know:

She moved on to another relationship and even had another child. Now that my sentence is almost ending, she has expressed interest in rekindling our relationship to take care of the children

Eleven years ago, I was convicted and sent to prison. My wife, with whom I have three children left our family home, leaving the children with their grandmother. She moved on to another relationship and even had another child. Now that my sentence is almost ending, she has expressed interest in rekindling our relationship to take care of the children. Should I take her back?


Dear Anonymous,

Sorry about your situation. I can imagine the stress this has caused you. However, this is a personal decision, which you can make after taking time to weigh all sides. It is true that a couple can remain loyal to each other even after a long time apart but this takes a lot of hard work and commitment from both parties.

This includes frequent meetings, writing letters and generally speaking, staying emotionally connected. I am not sure if this was possible while you were in prison. Your partner might have left either due to being lonely or took advantage of the freedom. Of course, this does not justify a spouse cheating on the other.

Since your wife is the one initiating a comeback, take this opportunity to find out why this happened and see how much she values the relationship or not. When you feel betrayed, you need space to grieve and then heal before you make an important decision of recommitting to a relationship.

 Otherwise, heal and find a place to forgive your wife before you reconcile. If reconciliation comes before forgiveness, you will keep referring to the past, and eventually, resentment will start building up in your relationship.

Deal with all the emotional pain this has caused by seeking professional counselling to enable you get in touch with your feelings.

Express how your wife’s behaviour made you feel. Embrace your feelings before and allow yourself to heal. After the above steps, do a personal retrospection, and decide if you still love your wife and are willing to reconcile with her.

Your children need to stay in a conducive environment, free from their parents’ toxic emotions. Invest more time in your relationship with your children and let it grow.

No one, no matter how well-meaning,  can tell you whether you should or should not attempt to reconcile with your ex.

However,  it is also not a bad idea to listen to the advice of people who know you well and whose opinion you trust. Any advice or observations from people who know both of you and were witness to your relationship may be helpful.

Reader advice

She shouldn’t come back

Kirsten Bayne.  Leaving you is understandable given the length of time you were away but coming back now is a major problem. The children are now grown and do not need to be taken care of by someone else as their grandmother is their “mother” who has been with them at a time when both their parents are away. Let it stay that way and when you are finally out, get yourself someone who will love you unconditionally.

Keep her at a distance

Martin Ssebyala. Once trust is lost, it is impossible to regain it. It takes the grace of God to forgive but trust is personal and it is a mindset. Believe me, even if you rekindle your relationship, you will always resent her, which could lead to domestic violence. It is better to keep her at a distance.

Let her come back

Davies Ssebbowa. 11 years away from your family is a long time. You will need all the support you can get. Welcome your wife back since she knows you more than most people and she is willing to come back and be your support system.

Forgive her

Merci Hossam Malaika. Ask yourself what you would have done had you been in her position. You have been away for a long time and as a woman, reasons such as her biological clock could have forced her to move on. However, to err is human and to forgive divine.

Focus on your children

Erl Lukwago. No, she does not deserve you. Your children need you now more than anyone. The time you have been away from them could have changed a lot of things, including their love for you. Your time back should be dedicated to making sure your children understand why you went away and trying to bridge the gap your absence has created.

Accept her proposal

Jimmy Waca. If she has accepted to come and help you look after the children, join her and allow life to move on. Resettling from prison is not an easy task and if she is ready to help you, then accept her assistance. There is no perfect person on planet Earth but forgiveness is the only way you will live a happy life.

Talk to trusted people

Jude Matovu. Share your feelings with those you love and trust. Many people you know may have been in a similar situation and can offer advice or an understanding ear. Avoid anyone who makes you feel worse about your current situation.

Seek professional help

David Woods. If you cannot come to terms with the fact that your wife left, the loneliness you are now feeling or your role in the breakdown of the marriage, it may be advisable to seek professional guidance. A suitably qualified, experienced relationship counsellor can help you deal with past issues and arm yourself with the skills you need to survive this challenging time and move onto a happier stage in your life.

Evelyn is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation


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